Brands with a “why” grow faster
Not what you do but why
A big reason why so many people are starting to get hold of their purpose is Simon Sinek’s popular Ted talk where he describes “The golden circle” and that “people do not buy what you do, but why you do it”. In his example, he is lifting Apple and IBM who basically produce similar products and have the same “what” and “how”. What sets them apart is Apple’s purpose which can be summed up with “To challenge the status quo”.
The definition of purpose
As with vision and mission, there are as many different definitions of purpose as there are brand strategists. The definition we like to stick to is: “The purpose is the reason why your brand exists besides generating revenue”. It is the answer to the most basic question your business has – why we exist. What is the meaning of us? And while it can be at least as challenging to find the meaning of one’s business as with life at large, it is definitely worth a try.
Brain and heart
Your purpose should include both the brain and heart. It should be both dynamic and motivating. It holds your brand’s deepest ingredients and reflects the impact you have on your employees, customers and the surrounding community. These are examples of questions that can help you define your purpose:
- In addition to making money, why do we do what we do?
- What is it that we value higher than anything else?
- What is our greatest passion?
- What driving forces do we have as an organization?
- What values is our business based on?
- What does the world we alone need to deliver?
What do you want to change?
Not infrequently there is the answer to your purpose in history. Why did your founders start the business? What needs did they see in the market? How has this legacy been managed over time and does it still apply? Having a clear purpose often requires that you take a stand, so think about what your organization dares to stand for and want to express. What do you want to help change now and in the future?
Involve your employees
Getting input from their employees in the process is important. As with all parts of branding, it is smart if everyone can join in and define their common journey forward. This way, you get a faster process, because it is once you have defined your purpose that the work begins. The ambition should be to communicate your purpose internally and externally in a clear and consistent way in all contexts. And even more important to live by that purpose every day.